Sunday, June 18, 2017


Quorums are defined by Robert's Rules of Order as, "The minimum number of members who must be present at the meeting of a deliberative assembly for business to be validly transacted is the quorum of the assembly." The UFT quorum requirement is 20% of the Delegates of the Delegate Assembly must be present.

It says in Robert's Rules on page 348-349, "Before the presiding officer calls a meeting to order, it is his duty to determine, although he need not announce, that a quorum is present."

I thought the UFT President waited until a sufficient number of the certified Delegates cards that come to us in the mail were collected by staffers before they started the meetings. We found out recently that even this rudimentary parliamentary procedure is not adhered to by the UFT.

At the May DA, our friend Jeff Andrusin asked why the UFT didn't report the number of Delegates present at meetings. President Michael Mulgrew answered that we would start announcing the numbers in June. Then, our June DA Agenda and May DA Minutes came in the mail and Jeff Andrusin noticed that the number present at the May meeting was 547. It also says in the agenda that the number of Delegates is 3,454 and the required number for a quorum is 690 (20%).

We didn't come close to a quorum in May and as for June, my viewing of the room was that it was a smaller number of Delegates as compared to the May DA. Mulgrew even closed the extra room on the 19th floor down and called the Delegates up there to the 2nd floor main room since it was so empty. To sum all this up, unless my crowd estimating skills are way off, we have not had a quorum for the DA since at least April but the DA has conducted plenty of business without one.

Why does this matter?

Robert's Rules explains it on page 21:
The requirement of a quorum is a protection against totally unrepresentative action in the name of the body by an unduly small number of persons."

That is the Unity Caucus: a small, invitation only group of mostly bought and paid for UFT members who control what happens to all of us.

What about business conducted in the absence of a quorum?  Robert's Rules says on page 348: "The prohibition against transacting business in the absence of a quorum cannot be waived even by unaimous consent, and a notice cannot be validly given.

The DA's actions for May and probably for June should be null and void. However, since this is the UFT, where rules mean virtually nothing, expect the quorum rules to be completely ignored.

Who do we complain to? Mulgrew?  The AFT? NYSUT? The Department of Labor? State Public Employees Relations Board (PERB)?

All dead ends as far as I can tell.

Jeff already informed me that he emailed Mulgrew and Assistant Secretary-Staff Director Leroy Barr about the lack of a quorum and he is still waiting for their response. He will probably wait a long time.


Anonymous said...

Complain to PERB

Anonymous said...

Stop picking on Mike. The AFT says there is nothing wrong and I am the AFT.
Randi Weingarten

Anonymous said...

As a steady reader of this blog, we read that the rules governing the meetings are blatantly broken time and time again. At this point, I am wondering why even have a meeting. The president of the UFT comes late and leaves early ( and we mean really early. The issues that need to be addressed are not even brought up, much less discussed. The vote on the motions is already known at the onset of the meeting. Now we hold meetings and pass motions without a quorum. I am not sure how much clearer does this have to be. None of this matters. The UFT top executives with the NYCDOE decide everything and then tell us what will happen. The rank and file have nothing to do with the decision making process.

Raving Lunatic said...

I have to ask that you stop posting questions like these. They give a bad image to the membership. Rules are made to be broken, and when we say they need to be broken, they do.

Back on your heads, duespayers.

Anonymous said...

Absolutely correct Mr. Lunatic, ( I know you must be a man based on your monicker - but will ignore it in this case) Please contact me immediately as I have multiple positions to be filled here at the AFT.
Randi Weingarten

Anonymous said...

Raxving- Have you thought about replacing Leo as minister of propaganda? Office has been deficient since Leo went to DC.

Anonymous said...

Van drives into people in London, 8pm. Wanna guess before info is reported? White? Black? Muslim? Chinese?

Anonymous said...

Who gives a shit? Terrible tragedy and 8 feel for the victims but this blog deals with ed issues..

Harris L. said...

Just wondering. If the DA is a rubber-stamp, even if it is the supreme decision-making body in the UFT, why does it matter, really, whether 2 or 2,000 people show up.

I applaud your focus on the application of RRoO but this seems a battle over a sort of transparency that would ultimately have no effect on anything. The larger battles for transparency have to do with finances, representation of members and governance.

Most teachers do not even know that there is a Delegate Assembly. I continue to be amazed by the time, attention and energy that union activists lavish on the DA...for what purpose?

I know that this is a matter of deep importance to you, James, but I honestly don't get it....

Anonymous said...

You should be ashamed of the UFT today.

James Eterno said...

Just pointing out each flaw in the system when I see it. Our failure as an opposition is not having wide distribution of news in the schools except for election time. Our readership has grown so pointing out the bs cannot hurt.

Anonymous said...

"Rules, we don't need no stinkin' rules!" -Mike Mulgrew

Anonymous said...

I was able to print my rating today, but the principals signature disappears-I tried html doc and pdf, same thing. Anyone else having this issue?

Anonymous said...

To 8:16 racist
Van drives into muslims in London. Guess who? Why a white guy just like you. Why are you so suddenly silent?
Also - white guy shoots Republicans
White guys knifes to people to death on train in Portland
White guy walks into black church and kills a dozen people.
You white guys should have a travel ban.

Anonymous said...

BREAKING: Man tries to attack police officer in London while shouting "Allahu Akbar".

Anonymous said...

That didnt take long for another muslim attack.

Anonymous said...

Stop all the hate. I've never had any problems ever with Muslim people of any age and I'd gladly teach a class of Muslim kids any day of the week. Some young Christian teachers that I worked with are now teaching in the Middle East. They prefered that to teaching in the Bronx. They are treated and paid well. No regime can match the DOE for incompetence or the UFT for complacency, hate them if you must. They are at least as bad as ISIS.

Anonymous said...

It was easier for the US to get rid of Osama, than it will be for the rank and file to get rid of Mulgrew.

Dr_Dru said...

to Harris L,

I am the person who asked the question at the D.A. and wrote to the blog about it.

It is of vital importance to show how the UFT is governed.

We need to go to the frayed edges of the machine, the non-true believers. To show them the inherent unfairness of the “process.” Most already know this and a few are looking for a better way. More than a few members, Unity and non-, were happy that I asked the question and wanted to know the actual figures.

As for fighting the larger battles, how do you get to a critical mass of people to do that. My impression is that the D.A. is a legitimate place to start.

What do you propose we do?

Update: as of 4:42 PM 6/19/17 Leroy Barr emailed me to say he will get back to me in the next couple of days.

James Eterno said...

That sounds hopeful.

Anonymous said...

Janus is coming and we are preparing for LIFE without NYSUT. Many locals are inquiring on Long Island and a number have sent in their 2017 dues. Long Island Federation of Educators for LIFE after NYSUT

Anonymous said...

We deserve it. Whats the worst that could happen?